Mary’s Exemplary Faith in God’s Strange Timing

Notice that God waited until after Mary was betrothed to cause her to be “with child.” But God didn’t wait until after Mary and Joseph had come together:

When [Jesus’] mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit (Matt. 1:18).

Pretty precise timing, right? And pretty awful timing for a young couple trying to maintain an honorable reputation.

Think of it.

If Mary had become pregnant after she was married, neither her reputation nor Joseph’s would have been affected. But at that point if Mary had tried to explain that her baby was from God, even Joseph would have thought she was crazy. She might have even doubted it herself!

And if the pregnancy had occurred before the betrothal, only Mary would have been affected. But without Joseph by her side as a character witness, it would have been doubly hard for anyone—us included—to believe that this baby was from God.

I think God had our faith in mind when He arranged the timing of this story. He made sure that this happened to a couple, not just a young girl. In His wisdom and kindness, God was providing tangible evidence and witnesses so that thousands of years later we would hear and believe that His Son truly was born to a virgin, just as was prophesied (Matt. 1:23).

But still. This was terrible timing for a teenage girl.

Mary’s Fearlessness

Mary was in a very vulnerable situation. She had no control over what Joseph would think, believe, or do. She couldn’t control how her parents would react or how the community would respond. Women convicted of immorality in those days were stoned (John 8:4–5). The community would gather around the woman, pick up rocks, and throw them at her!

Obviously, this pregnancy could have caused Mary an enormous amount of anxiety and agitation. However, Mary was fearless. How do I know this? Two reasons: Mary left town. And she viewed her pregnancy as God’s favor, not His curse.

She Left Her Reputation to God

Immediately after the angel told Mary about her impending pregnancy, Luke 1:39 says that Mary “arose and went with haste to the hill country” to visit her cousin Elizabeth. Can you picture Mary on the path leading out of town, her frame getting smaller and smaller just as all the gossip kicks up?

“Did you hear?” someone whispers. “Mary’s pregnant!”

Mary?” asks the friend, incredulously.

“I know,” says the first friend. “And she just left town.”

When I’m worried that someone might be spreading rumors about me, I don’t want to leave the room, let alone leave town! I want to stay close and manage the situation. I want to stick around for damage control. In Mary’s shoes, I imagine myself telling the angel story repeatedly to anyone who would listen.

Instead of this, Mary left town. She left her reputation in God’s hands. She was fearless.

I confess that I am often less than fearless. Unlike Mary, I obsess over what people will think or say about me or how they will react. You, too? Especially at Christmas, with all of our heightened expectations, we can get tangled up in anxiety, with fears like:

  • What will my agnostic cousin say if I read the Christmas story at our gathering?
  • What will my adult son do if I refuse to let his girlfriend stay in his room over Christmas?
  • What will my kids think if I limit gift purchases instead of loading up my credit card?
  • How will my extended family react to the idea of going to church rather than opening gifts on Christmas morning?

The woman of God is fearless, not riddled with doubt or anxiety. She leaves her reputation in God’s hands, because she knows He can manage it much better than she can. Look how God took care of Mary’s reputation. After Joseph learned about Mary’s pregnancy, and as he was contemplating what to do, “an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife’” (Matt. 1:20).

See? Problem solved! Mary didn’t have to run a campaign to get Joseph to marry her. In fact, she was probably already out of town (with no cell phone) when Joseph came to see it her way. She fearlessly trusted God with her reputation and her future.

She Rejoiced in Suffering

My second reason for calling Mary fearless is her demeanor during the scene when she arrives at Elizabeth’s house. We might expect an average teenage girl to burst in, wailing, “My dreams are shattered! My life is over! Elizabeth, I’m . . . I’m pregnant!”

Mary could have interpreted her pregnancy this way, but she didn’t. After being greeted by an exuberant Elizabeth (who somehow not only knew that Mary was pregnant but knew it was a good thing!), Mary did what we least expect of a teenage girl. She burst into song!

Here are some phrases from Mary’s “Magnificat” in Luke 1:

  • “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior” (vv. 46–47).
  • “For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed” (v. 48).
  • “For he who is mighty has done great things for me” (v. 49).

Rather than being undone by the shame and sacrifice to her own personal story, Mary revels in the unfolding of God’s bigger, more glorious story—which is all about His Son! She interprets her life from this vantage point and considers this pregnancy to be God’s favor, not His curse.

Again, I confess that I don’t always maintain Mary’s perspective. When my dreams are shattered, my soul often doesn’t immediately magnify the Lord. When I tell a cousin or friend about my struggles, I don’t often (ever) sing about how “he who is mighty has done great things for me.” It’s hard to think of my trials as evidences of God’s favor. But actually, I think they are.

This is far easier to see, when I look back in life. The things that brought pain or heartache are also the things that God used to draw my attention to Him. In the absence of struggle, I’m far more tempted to put myself at the center of my story rather than connecting my story to God.

Mary was newly pregnant when she arrived at Elizabeth’s house. She didn’t have years or even months to gain perspective. Almost immediately, she lifted her eyes above the pain and sacrifice to her own personal story and considered it all from God’s perspective. She rejoiced over the role she got to play in God’s story, as the mother of God’s Son. Indeed all generations have called her blessed. And she was blessed to have this perspective.

My Perspective

This Christmas, God has inserted some challenges and difficulties into my life’s storyline, and I’m guessing He’s done the same for you. So how will we respond? Will we cower in fear and worry about the future? Will we obsess over what people think? Will we try to do damage control? Or will we be fearless like Mary and revel in the fact that God is inviting us to play a role in His story?

When God ordained the specific and unique timing of Mary’s pregnancy, He had our faith in mind. And in the same way, God often has the faith of other people in mind when He inserts difficulties into our lives. When we fearlessly leave our futures and reputations in God’s hands as Mary did—rejoicing even in the midst of suffering—we point others to Jesus and make our stories all about Him.

What are you worrying about today? Are you obsessing over what people think or running ahead to do damage control? What is one way you will entrust God with your reputation and future? Consider your hardship from God’s perspective. How might this difficulty be used to point others to Jesus?


This post first appeared on the True Woman blog, a ministry of Revive Our Hearts.


For more information on my Bible study, Control Girl, or if you’re a leader considering this resource for your group, please check out all of my free resources here.

The Picture is Attached

I picked up my phone and looked at the picture in the text, first.

It was my cousin’s piano, which she wanted to sell. Then I read her brief text. She said, “What do you think on the price? The pictures are attached.”

I looked back at the piano, again. Several picture frames displaying family photos were scattered across the top of the piano. I thought, “Those things are attached? Man… I wonder if it will ruin the finish of the piano to get them off.”

So I texted her back and said, “The pictures are attached? Can you get them off?”

She texted back, “????”

Then I realized. She meant the pictures of the piano were attached to the text. I threw my head back, laughing. I realized that I had momentarily lost my mind. I called my cousin, still laughing, and said, “Yes, I do know what it means to attach a picture!”

How many times have I said the same thing? “The picture is attached.” I don’t mean with glue or staples or nails. I mean, it’s attached with an imaginary paperclip to an email or text that I can’t hold in my hand. It’s real, for sure. But if your definition of real is being able to put the picture on your refrigerator with a magnet, or wad the document into a ball… when then, it’s harder prove how real the attachment is.

HowSo what about my attachment to God? Is it real? I can’t put His picture on my fridge. I can’t reach out and put my hand in His. When I attach my life to his, sometimes it’s a bit like using that paperclip icon on my screen. It’s not the sort of ‘attachment’ that you add and then lick the envelope.

Sometimes, I have these fleeting questions. I wonder,

  • “Am I really ‘in Christ’?”
  • “Is God really directing me with His ‘hand’?”
  • “Have I really heard His voice?”

Then, I realize that I’ve momentarily lost my mind. I throw my head back and laugh, realizing that there’s nothing more real in my life, than my attachment to Christ.

Nothing can snatch me from His hand. My name is written in his book. He is mine and I am His, and that attachment is infinitely stronger than any paperclip or envelope. Even death can’t separate me from Him.

 

The Un-plowed Driveway

We don’t have a snow-blower.

My husband says, “Why would we have a snow-blower, when we have three healthy kids who need to learn to work?” So while other kids are inside sipping hot chocolate to get out of the cold, my husband is sending our kids out.

Once, when Lindsay was about seven, she came in from shoveling snow, with a burst of enthusiasm. She said, “Mom! There’s this snowplow on our street right now, and it’s going to all of the driveways, and shoveling the snow really fast! It went to the Bates, the Peddies, the Tinsleys… I’m pretty sure it’s coming to ours, next!” Read more

My Husband Went Running in the Dark, Scary Woods

When we lived in Lake Orion, our house backed up to a wooded state park. So Ken would get up very early and go running on the trails in the woods.

To me, this seemed very scary. From our back deck, those woods seemed so thick and ominous. And on winter mornings, it was so dark! So I said, “I don’t think you should run back there! What if there was someone out there, in the woods? What if they attacked you?:

He laughed at me.If there are ominous threats, lurking in

I said, “I’m serious! You should at least take a cell phone.”

He laughed again. He said, “What should I do–call 911 and say, ‘A big scary guy is attacking me somewhere in the woods’?” Read more

The ‘Good’ in Good Friday

When we moved, a few years ago, one of our kids was especially distraught. He said, “But I prayed that God would bring a friend to live on our street, and he did! So I think that means we’re supposed to stay on our street.”

Basically, his theology went like this: Prayer is asking God for the the things you want. You decide what would be good for you, and then you pray for it. And sometimes, God grants your request. God would never want to give you a bad thing, or have a good thing taken away–especially after he just answered your prayer! He gives good gifts to his children, after his children decide what ‘good’ is, and ask for it.

Unfortunately, my son may have caught his theology from me. But he didn’t get it from Jesus.

As Jesus teaches us how to pray using the Lord’s Prayer as an example, before he ever asks God for anything, he begins with,

Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Jesus not only taught this, but he lived it. Just before he was betrayed, and then crucified, he prayed, saying, 
Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me.
Yet not my will, but yours be done.

Prayer is surrender. It’s giving up control. It’s not trying to leverage God. It’s not trying to get what you want. It’s laying down your hopes and dreams and plans, kneeling before God, and yielding your will to be enveloped in his will. There are often tears when you pray like Jesus did. 
What troubles you today? What are you afraid might happen? What do you fear losing?

Jesus taught us to pray, “Your will be done,”–not because he calls us only to a life of sorrow. No, it is for the joy set before him that Jesus endured the cross, despising the shame. (Hebrews 12:12) 

This joy is what we anticipate, also! Christians are the people whose hearts have been flooded with light, so that they see the rich and glorious inheritance that will one day be theirs. They anticipate the immeasurably great power that God will use to raise them from the dead–the same way he raised Jesus! (Eph. 1:18-19) 
This hope, and this joy that is set before us, is the ‘Good’ in Good Friday. It’s what causes us to pray, “Your will be done.” 

Laughing at Black Eyes

A few years ago, I spoke at a moms group on the topic of ‘beauty’. While I planned to speak mostly about inner beauty, I didn’t want to seem completely disqualified to present the topic! So, in front of my mirror that morning, I tried to muster all the beauty I could. 

I tried on several outfits, and critiqued each one from different angles. I fussed over my hair and makeup. I even used some new mascara that I had never tried. I did the best I could, given what I had to work with. Then, I told myself, “Now it’s time to focus on what you will say, not how you look as you say it.”
When I got there,
the leaders of the group graciously asked me to join them in the prayer room. They were so sweet in the way that they prayed over me that they even brought tears to my eyes. Then, it was time to go in.
It was not until after I spoke that I glanced into a mirror, as I washed my hands in the ladies’ room. I was horrified! The new mascara was obviously not ‘smudge proof’!
I had black semi circles under each eye! I stood in shock for a moment, then I asked a couple of girls at the sink beside me, “Is this how I looked when I was speaking?” Sheepishly, they nodded yes. Laughter bubbled up, as I looked back to the mirror! I looked so funny with my two ‘black eyes’!
Since these women had never met me, they probably assumed that I ONLY focus on inner beauty.
Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, says Proverbs 31:30. The word ‘vain’ in the Bible means ‘vapor’ or ‘breath’, which means our beauty isn’t something to put our security in. All women want to be beautiful. We want to look into the mirror and see a reflection that is worthy of admiration. But if we look into the mirror long enough, we’re sure to see something that causes us to be disheartened, discouraged, or even to despair.

Conversely, if we put our hope in God, who is a rock under our feet and anchor to our souls, we can laugh into today’s mirror—black eyes, or not. And we can laugh into every mirror of the future. 

If Your Little Boy Struggles

As a mom, one of the most painful things in life is to see my kids struggle through something that is humiliating. I alternate between wanting to fix my child and eradicate the struggle, and wanting to pummel anyone who would dare to snicker or poke fun at him.

That’s why this little paragraph of John Piper’s book gave me such hope. He’s not writing to moms, and he doesn’t give the perspective of his mom as he writes, but I couldn’t help but read this story with a mom’s heart. I wondered what I would have done, if I had been John Piper’s mom.

He writes:

“When I was in junior and senior high school, I could not speak in front of a group. I became so nervous that my voice would completely choke up. It was not the common butterflies that most people deal with. It was a horrible and humiliating disability. I could only give short–several word–answers to the questions teachers would ask in school. In algebra class, I was ashamed of how my hands shook when doing a problem on the blackboard. I couldn’t lead out on the Sundays when our church gave the service over to the youth.

“There were many tears. My mother struggled with me through it all, encouraging and supporting me. We were sustained by God’s grace, even though the ‘thorn’ in my flesh was not removed. 

Piper goes on to describe a small breakthrough while giving a little speech in Spanish class at Wheaton college, and then the decisive turning point when he accepted an invitation to lead in prayer at chapel. But his current perspective on those years is what interested me most:

“I would not want to relive my high-school years. The anxiety, the humiliation and shame, were so common, as to cast a pall over all those years. Hundreds of prayers went up and what came down was not what I wanted at the time–the grace to endure. My interpretation now, thirty years later, is that God was keeping me back from excessive vanity and wordliness. He was causing me to ponder weighty things in solitude, while many others were breezily slipping into superficial patterns of life.” (Future Grace, pp. 52-53)

When I read this, I tilted my head back and said, “Thank you, God!”  In God’s wisdom, he set this boy aside, keeping him from becoming entangled in patterns of living independently from God. And I’m thankful that John was willing to endure the struggle, emerging from adolescence with deep faith in God, rather than confidence in himself.

But, I’m also thankful for John’s mom. She could have become fretful, herself, as she projected into John’s future. She could have frantically tried to ‘fix’ him by providing tutors or counselors or experiences. She could have attempted to offset his struggle by giving him a sense of superiority over his obvious intellect. But she did none of these. John’s mom just suffered through it with him, and taught him to put his hope in God.

John Piper has influenced my faith as profoundly as any other writer or preacher of our day. But I’ll bet if I had met him as a child, I might have forecast something different for his life. The young boys that I think of as would-be preachers have obvious gifts. They aren’t the ones struggling to speak more than three words in class.

All of this gives me hope as I turn to my own children, and their unique struggles. Sometimes I’m tempted to fret about the future. But what if these struggles were a good thing? What if a little boy who suffers and sends up hundreds of prayers is being given the gift of dependence on God?

There is much I can do to foster this process in my kids’ hearts. I can encourage and support them with truth, and I can help them see their God correctly–as one who intends good for them, not harm.

Is your little boy struggling? Or your little girl? As their mom, you are positioned to help your children place their hope securely in God. Cast any worry or dread over the future from your mom-heart. Let your eyes be bright with hope; your heart filled with wonder.

God is at work, even now! Let’s see what he will do.

A Mass the Size of a Small Loaf

My friend, Amy, struggles with fear. Especially fear of something happening to her kids. She used to be convinced that if something life-threatening ever endangered one of her kids, she would go into a fetal position in the corner and never come out.

But when I talked to her about a month ago, she told me something had changed. “I finally realized how foolish I had been,” Amy said. “Here God had entrusted these five kids to me, and yet I was having trouble entrusting them back to Him!” 

Just this past week, she had an opportunity to do just that.

Amy’s twelve-year-old, Becca, suddenly began complaining of some discomfort in her abdomen. Shortly after taking her to a medical facility, the doctors confirmed that Becca had a mass the size of a small loaf of bread, and it needed to be removed immediately. The church (in Auburn Hills, MI) was encouraged to gather and pray the night before the surgery.

When I heard the news, I was certainly concerned for 12-year-old Becca, but I was equally concerned for her mom, Amy. How would she ever make it through something as paralyzing as this? How would she overcome the fear to even make it through the week? How would I make it through a week like this??

Surprisingly, when I asked a mutual friend how Amy was doing, she said, “Amy is a rock! I’m a mess, but Amy’s faith is so strong!”

This made me cry just as much as hearing the news about Becca–but the good kind of tears. It gave me such hope. If Amy could look into the face of the trial she dreaded most with unwavering faith… if God was enough for her in these fiercely dark moments (as he promises he will be!)… then He will be enough for me, too! The things I dread may come, but so will God’s strength, which is always equally matched to the trial.

As I’ve sifted through my issues with control, I’ve come to realize that my fear and worry can indicate a deeper struggle with control. Whenever I am filled with dread, wondering what the future holds, I’m learning to ask myself, “What am I trying to control? What am I not trusting God with?” God’s desire for each mom, each twelve-year-old girl, and each follower of him, is that we surrender control and trust him with the ending of the story.

This chapter of Becca’s story has a good ending in so many ways. The surgeon said she felt ‘someone’ was graciously guiding her hands as she removed Becca’s tumor, which contained no cancer. And the lab tests also came back benign. But equally as good is the story of faith, evidenced in this family, as they faced the unknown.

Their story proves that if the mass is the size of a loaf of bread, then God will give loaf-sized faith to all who need it–including a fearful Mama. Knowing how Amy worries, her friend said, “This couldn’t have happened to a worse person!” But later Amy thought, “No, it couldn’t have happened to a better person, because I am completely weak in my own strength, so this HAD to be God.”

God is real, friends. I saw him this week in my fearless friend, Amy!

“By faith Sarah herself…considered him faithful who had promised.”
“And you are her children if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.” 
(Hebrews 11:11 & I Peter 3:6)

UPDATE: More tests came back showing the Becca does have an aggressive form of cancer. She will be starting chemotherapy treatment on December 5, 2013. Amy’s faith is still amazingly strong and unwavering. In a recent email, here is what she asked friends to pray: “That I would be hopeful about a full recovery… that God would give me words and many opportunities for witness… that I would be wholly devoted to God… That I would not worry or be afraid.”  

I’m The One Holding the Strings

I'm the One Holding the strings. (1)In my hands, I hold the strings of the three kite-like kids whom God has blessed me with. I have a lot to juggle with three–wanting each one to soar high in the sky.

It’s so fun to have the other people around me tilt their heads back and admire the beautiful flying colors which are undeniably tied to me. I’m the anchor, and each year I unloop a little of the string from my hands, watching my kids sail higher and farther than the year before.

There are unexpected yanks and tugs as the wind shifts, but I look at these as opportunities for new height! I may feel a tug to make my child attractive with new clothes and hairstyles. Then I might be pulled toward making him smart with good schooling and new technology. I might realize that he’s not fitting in, so I’m tugged toward improving his social skills and networking. Or I might notice that he lacks pizzazz on the sporting field, so I’m yanked toward building his skill with private lessons and better coaching.

The wind is unpredictable, and I never feel completely stable in my role down here, holding the strings. I’m always on guard. I can never relax. And I’m always worried about snags that could keep my precious kites from going higher into the sky.

Then, without warning, the wind pulls one of my kites into a tree. Maybe he fails a test, is bullied on the playground, or is cut from a team. From my place below, holding the strings, I am irritated and embarrassed and frustrated. I have two other strings to hold onto, and this one is stuck! I’m  impatient to get the kite up into the sky again, where it can soar and be admired.

God, what should I do? I need wisdom about my child who is stuck. Help me get him unsnagged so that he can be free to soar again. I’ll do whatever you say. Should I climb the tree? Get a ladder? Cut off that branch? Or just try and tug him loose? 

But God says no, He has a different plan. He says that he doesn’t want me to be driven and tossed by the wind anymore. He wants me to be free of my role as anchor. He wants me to give the strings to him.

Give the strings to him? What–all three? I’m confused. God must have misunderstood. I only need his wisdom about this one who is stuck in the tree. I know how to anchor these kites and keep them soaring high. I’ve been doing it for so long. I’m really good at it! See how the other two are flying? Plus, what would I do with myself if I was free of them?

God says he just wants me to be free of trying to control them. He wants me to be free to enjoy them as I never have before. He invites me to trust his wisdom and goodness instead of my own. But he says that once I give him the strings, I must not take them back. I must have faith in him; no doubting.

Hmm… this makes me really uneasy. With my strings in God’s hands, what happens to the two who are soaring high? They won’t be anchored in me, so I’ll miss out on the pleasure of being linked to their success! And what if God doesn’t know how to keep them flying high?

Plus, what about the one who is snagged? What if God doesn’t know how to get him down, either? Or what if he gets snagged again? The string won’t be mine to tug anymore. This makes me feel insecure and uncertain.

I decide to ask God for a guarantee. Can he assure me that if I give him my strings, my kites will fly higher than ever before? And that they won’t ever be snagged or ensnared? Will everyone always tilt their heads back and admire my precious kids? Will I feel even more pride that I have up until now?

God says no. This is not his way. Instead, I will feel freedom. I will be able to count it all joy, even when my child is ensnared beneath branches; unable to soar. He says the people around me will see joy and peace on my face. Rather than admiring me, they’ll notice the One who has gathered my precious kite strings, and who holds both them and me. God promises that my family will soar in new ways, unbothered by who is watching or what impression we are making. We will be steadfast. No longer driven and tossed. Steadfast.

As I consider the proposition, I feel the wind shifting again. I adjust my stance, trying to make the flying kites swoop higher. But as I respond to the surge of wind, I accidentally yank the snagged kite and hear a snap. Oh, no! Have I broken his sail? What have I done?

I feel new anxiety. A new rush of adrenaline. I’m angry. God gave me too many kites. I’m not equipped to handle this much pressure. I’m not doing well, and everyone can see it. The strings are cutting into my hands, and I’m not sure what to do next. I’m tired. I’m driven and tossed.

Gently, generously, and with no reproach, God holds his hands out. Will I trust him?

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness… If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the see that is driven and tossed by the wind…”
James 1:2-6

Dear 17-year-old Me, (re: BOYS)

Dear Seventeen-Year-Old Me,
Let’s talk about boys. It’s going to be rough for a while. You’re going to crave the attention of boys, but mostly because you want to know that you’re OK. You want to know that you’re pretty enough, smart enough, and fun enough… And sometimes you’ll be convinced that you aren’t enough of any of these things.  
There will be a time at McDonalds when you overhear some boys (in the booth on the other side of the half wall) talking about the tall blonde girls they like, and you’ll realize that they are talking about your friends (who are tall and blonde) and not you (who are neither tall nor blonde). This will make you wish that you were tall and blonde. It will make you sad. You’ll convince yourself that everything will be all right if just one boy will notice you  and like you.

Over the next few years, you’ll start singling out that ‘one boy’ (and then another boy and another) to think about. You’ll fill up entire notebooks, writing about whichever boy you’re liking at the moment. You’ll dissect his sentences, and try to decipher embedded meanings. You’ll concoct mind games to inflict on him, and you’ll agonize over whether he even knows you’re alive.

But let me tell you a secret. None of this matters! It truly doesn’t! Soon enough, you’ll toss all those silly notebooks into a garbage bin, and eventually you won’t even remember the names of the boys that you stayed up late trying to decipher. It just won’t matter anymore.
When you are twenty-three (which feels like an eternity from now, but really is not so far away at all), you will meet the husband God chose for you. His name is Ken,  and even if I told you how great he is, you wouldn’t believe me. If you took all the  happy moments you’ve recorded in your notebooks and rolled them together, they would seem meaningless compared to the joy you’re going to experience with Ken.
So for now… just wait. Put boys on hold, and wait for God’s timing; for God’s man. God isn’t against you on this! He’s for you! He’s getting Ken ready, too, and he’s got an incredible romance planned. Meditate on this verse:
Wait for the Lord;
                Be strong and let your heart take courage;
                Wait for the Lord!